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Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. One in four people in the UK have a mental health problem at some point in their lives that affects their daily life, relationships or physical health.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background. Without care and treatment, mental health problems can have a serious affect on the individual and those around them. Every year more than 250,000 people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals and over 4,000 people commit suicide.

Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia,depression and personality disorders are all types of mental health problem. Diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia generally develop in old age, whereas eating disorders are more common in young people.

There is no single cause of mental health problems; the reasons they develop are as complex as the individual. Mental health problems are more common in certain groups, for example, people with poor living conditions, those from ethnic minority groups, disabled people, homeless people and offenders. Sometimespeople with mental health problems are discriminated against. This can lead to social problems such as homelessness, and may make the mental health problem worse.

Particular mental health problems are also more common in certain people. For example, women are more likely than men to have anxiety disorders and depression. Drug and alcohol addictions are more common in men, and men are also more likely to commit suicide.

Mental health problems can also develop from difficult life events, such as moving house, losing your job or the death of someone special. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time, and using illegal drugs can contribute to mental health problems, particularly in people who are already vulnerable.

People with mental health problems sometimes need help and support to enable them to cope with their illness. There are many treatment options, including medication, counsellingpsychotherapy, complementary therapies and self help strategies. It is important that people with mental illnesses are told about the options available so they can make a decision about what treatment suits them best.

Another important step in the recovery process is for the person to accept that they are ill, and to want to get better. This can take time and it is important for family and friends to be supportive. There are many support groups and charities that offer advice, confidential counselling and information about the types of treatment available and where to get help.

The Mental Capacity Act came fully into force on 1 October 2007. It aims to protect people who cannot make decisions for themselves due to a learning disability or a mental health condition, for example Alzheimer’s disease, or for any other reason. It provides clear guidelines for carers and professionals about who can take decisions in which situations.

The Act states that everyone should be treated as able to make their own decisions until it is shown that they can’t. It also aims to enable people to make their own decisions for as long as they are capable of doing so.

A person’s capacity to make a decision will be established at the time that a decision needs to be made. A lack of capacity could be because of a severe learning disability, dementia, mental health problems, a brain injury, a stroke or unconsciousness due to an anesthetic or a sudden accident.

It also makes it a criminal offence of neglect or ill-treatment of a person who lacks capacity.

The Act intends to protect people who lose the capacity to make their own decisions. It will allow the person, while they are still able, to appoint someone (for example a trusted relative or friend)

  • to make decisions on their behalf once they lose the ability to do so. This will mean they can make decisions on the person’s health and personal welfare. Previously, the law only covered financial matters.
  • ensure that decisions that are made on the person’s behalf are in their best interests. The Act provides a checklist of things that decision makers must work through.
  • introduce a Code of Practice for people such as healthcare workers who support people who have lost the capacity to make their own decisions.

People with no one to act for them will also be able to leave instructions for their care under the new provisions.

For more information Office of Public Guardian Tel: 0845 3302900

Cambridgeshire,Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind

Services provided

  • Advice / information
  • Anger management
  • Drop-in
  • Volunteer opportunities

. Tel Tel:01733 530651

Total Voice Advocacy Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have brought together advocacy services for adults, carers, children and young people into one single service. This new service is called ‘TotalVoice’ Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

TotalVoice’ is delivered by specialist advocacy providers VoiceAbility, Cambridgeshire Deaf Association and NYAS. Together, they provide statutory and community advocacy services.

Advocacy enquiries and referrals are co-ordinated through the ‘TotalVoice’ central team. This means that everyone who contacts the ‘TotalVoice’ partnership will only need to tell them about their advocacy needs once and they will do the work together to ensure the Service User gets the right advocacy service to meet their needs.

Referrals, including self-referrals, for advocacy services can be made by contacting ‘TotalVoice’ by phone, or by email. The service has a dedicated TVCP referral helpline: 0300 222 5704 and the referral form can be found on their website.

Children and young people, and professionals who want to speak directly to a NYAS advisor can call 0808 808 1001

or e-mail help@nyas.net. Professional referrals can also be made at: https://www.nyas.net/referral

The Advocacy service is accessible for people who are deaf. People can contact Cambridgeshire Deaf Association via Glide, Facetime or Skype on 07902 281 668.


Peterborough & District Samaritans have trained volunteers who will listen to people who are distressed, in despair or contemplating suicide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls charged at the local rate. They will offer a sympathetic, non-judgemental listening ear. The service is mainly by telephone, however people are able to visit the branch by arranging an appointment in advance. This branch covers Peterborough and the surrounding area, plus Bourne, Stamford, March, Wisbech, Oundle and Spalding.       Tel: 08457909090   or Peterborough hot line 01733 312727

Rethink Carer Support – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough provides support by carers for carers of people with mental ill health across the area. This is done through a phone support service, groups in Peterborough and Cambridge, and email and one to one support as appropriate.

Drinksense is a registered charity providing advice, information, therapeutic counselling and a range of support services for people with alcohol related problems and their carers and families in Cambridgeshire.
They see people who are concerned with their own or another’s alcohol use, and work toward reducing the harm that alcohol may be causing a person whether that involves health, employment, relationships or lifestyle.

Tel: 01733 555532

CAMEO, are able to offer you a number of different treatments or interventions for people experiencing some of the symptoms of psychosis and related disorders aged 17 to 35 years. Each person can benefit from different treatment options, so our starting point is a thorough assessment. The service is for people who are resident in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (including local Schools, Colleges and Universities) those experiencing some of the symptoms of psychosis and related disorders, and who haven’t had extensive treatment in the past. CAMEO is happy for people to phone for a chat, and if they think interventions won’t help you, they can suggest other sources of help and care.     Tel: 01733 318102


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

The Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) North Team provides assessment and treatment for children and young people up to the age of 17 living in Peterborough who are experiencing emotional problems, anxiety difficulties, major eating problems, psychosis, or mental health problems with associated behavioural difficulties and support for their families and professionals working with them.

01733 777939

Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team – A crisis resolution team (sometimes called home treatment) provides intensive support for people in mental health crisis in their own home, or other suitable alternative such as a crisis house. The crisis resolution team will stay involved until the problem is resolved. It is designed to provide prompt and effective home treatment, including medication, in order to prevent hospital admissions and give support to carers. Tel: 01733 776029

Early Intervention in Psychosis Service – provide early intervention in psychosis services provide assessment and care for individuals experiencing psychosis for the first time. They focus on medical control of psychotic symptoms and psychological and family interventions. Tel:  01733 353250


New mental health unit, has been built on the Edith Cavell site in Peterborough, and is part of Greater Peterborough Health Investment Plan (GPHIP).

This new state-of-the-art 100-bed mental health unit offers patients purpose-built accommodation with single en-suite bedrooms. It includes adult acute psychiatric wards, a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, older people’s mental health unit and a specialist service for people with learning disabilities.

The accommodation includes restaurant-style dining facilities for patients, staff and visitors, an information centre, fitness and recreational centre and landscaped gardens.

The buildings are in the grounds of the Peterborough City Hospital site, which will eventually  are called the Edith Cavell Healthcare Campus

Speaking Up for Families is a free, confidential and independent one-to-one advocacy service for parents who have a learning difficulty and/or mental health illness (N.B These categories are interpreted very broadly. For example, if you are anxious or worried about an issue then an advocate can work with you).

Advocacy aims to empower parents to speak up for themselves and to have their voice heard. We support parents on a variety of family and parenting issues and help them to access information and services, and be aware of their rights. Advocates listen to parents and help them to have an informed choice. An advocate will not tell you what to do or give you advice, but they are there to help you have a voice, take action and have positive changes in your life.

If you think that you, or someone you know, might benefit from advocacy support contact Rebecca Holloway by telephone on 07827444068  or 01354 651222

or email at suf@speakingup.org’

NHS Walk-in centre offers fast and convenient access to local NHS advice, information and treatment. They do not replace local G.P. or hospital services but compliment them. All services, treatments and consultations are given by qualified NHS nurses without the need for an appointment. As well as offering treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, the Centre liaises closely with mental health assessment teams, and can either help someone with mental health issues/problems or refer them to an appropriate service. All services are offered in person at the centre. The service is available 7 days a week, from 7am – 10pm. The City Care Centre, Thorpe Road  Peterborough, are fully accessible to disabled people. Tel: 01733 293800

PALS (patient advice liaison services) Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. When you use mental health services or care for someone who does, you may sometimes need help, information or support.PALS is a confidential Trust service that listens to your concerns and queries and helps sort out problems quickly on your behalf. They can also give you information about mental health services and the NHS, including how to make a complaint and where to get support to do this. If you would like to talk to someone from the PALS team

Tel  01733673405

National Self-Help Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. Their primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Beating Eating Disorders (BEAT) is the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families. BEAT is the working name of the Eating Disorders Association. BEATs vision is simple:Eating Disorders will be Beaten. Eating disorders are a serious mental illness affecting 1.1 million people in the UK. BEAT provides helplines for adults and young people, online support and a UK-wide network of self-help groups to help people beat their eating disorder.

Helpline: 0808 801 0677 

Studentline: 0808 801 0811

Youthline: 0808 801 0711


Bristol Crisis Service for Women offers a wide range of services to women. The support line is for women with long-term mental health needs who need to talk through their experiences and feelings including self-injury and sexual abuse . The helpline may also give information about appropriate local services and resources.

Tel helpline  0117 927 9600

CALM (Campaign against Living Miserably) Calm targets men between 15 and 35 to raise awareness of depression and encourage them to open up about their problems and seek help. Helpline open Sat – Tues, 5 pm to midnight

Tel: 0800 585858

Depression Alliance have no merged with MIND work to relieve and to prevent this treatable condition by providing information and support services to those who are affected by it via their publicationssupporter services and network of self-help groups for people affected by depression.

Tel:  01733530651

Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (COMBAT STRESS)

helps  ex-servicemen/women of all ranks of the three services and the Merchant Navy suffering mental disability due to their service career. They have a network of twelve welfare officers who visit at home or hospital, and can help with war pensions and appeals, and have 3 treatment centres in Surrey, Shropshire and Ayrshire offering respite care

HELPLINE: 08001381619

First Steps To Freedom offers advice, support and counselling to people who suffer from phobias, general anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, eating disorders and people who wish to come off tranquillisers, can also support their carers. The organisation also produces leaflets, booklets, videos and relaxation tapes.

Tel:  08451202916

Hearing Voices Network is a support network for people who hear voices. They produce literature and organise meetings and conferences. There are self-help groups throughout the country. Contact the head office for more information.


Tel: 0845 1228641

Institute of Psychotherapy and Social Studies (IPSS) The IPSS offers a consultation and referral service to people considering psychotherapy. Sliding scale of fees. Low cost therapy is available. The Institute is a member organisation of the UKCP, and abides by the council’s code of ethics.

Tel   020 8993 5599


MDF (The BiPolar Organisation) The Manic Depression Fellowship is the largest self help organisation in the UK for people who experience episodes of manic depression, and their families. They provide advice, support, specialist literature, and information on local self-help groups. Self-help groups offer members the opportunity to meet other people who have been through similar experiences, and they can help lessen the sense of isolation and provide a safe place.

Need help?

Call our helpline…5pm–midnight, 365 days a year…or find help online here  www.mdf.org.uk

Nationwide   tel: 0800 58 58 58

National Women’s Mental Health Info line is run by women for women. It provides information for women with mental health difficulties and their carers. Women who are emotionally distressed, people working in the mental health field or anyone with an enquiry about women’s mental health. Includes information on self help and support groups, counselling and therapy organisations, statutory services (e.g. day centres), legal centres, medication and complementary therapies.

020 7766 7498

NHS Direct is a 24 hour confidential healthcare advice and information helpline. You can speak directly, and in confidence, to experienced nurses and professional advisors about any health problem or enquiry. Using their skills and experience, together with a comprehensive computer system, NHS Direct can provide you with advice on what to do next. Tel: 0845 4647

Youth No Panic You can phone to request an information pack on panic attacks, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder and to find out the number of the day’s phone counsellor Tel:  0844 967 4848


OCD Action is an organisation which exists to advance awareness, research and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. You can write to them at the above address for information. You can also subscribe and become a member – for which you receive a regular newsletter, including information about self-help groups.

Tel:  0845 390 6232        or    Tel:    020 7253 2664


SANE has three objectives:

  • To raise awareness and respect for people with mental illness and their families and secure better services
  • To undertake research into the causes of serious mental illness through The Prince of Wales International Centre for SANE Research
  • To provide help and information to those experiencing mental health problems, their families and carers through

Open every day of the year from 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm on 0300 304 7000.

Young Minds is a national, confidential service for parents and carers who are concerned about the mental health or emotional well-being of a child or young person.

Tel:   0808 802 5544